Brown Turns Heads at Combine

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. --- Every combine season seems to have that one prospect that causes the 40-yard dash timers to do a double take with their stopwatches. Saturday afternoon during the first Shrine Bowl Combine of the season, that prospect was Marquan Brown of Hope Mills (N.C.) Gray's Creek.

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    After a picture perfect takeoff, Brown reached the finish line of the 40-yard dash 4.19 seconds later – with three stopwatches on him while running on grass.

    "I couldn't believe it," said Brown. "I felt really good running, so I knew I had a good time, but I didn't know it was that good."

    Later, Brown answered the disbelievers, by receiving a 4.23-second time on his second run with four stopwatches clocking him.

    Brown, who worked out mostly with the running backs, also shocked many by clocking a 3.98-second shuttle. He also vertically jumped 34.2 inches and benched 185 pounds 13 times.

    "I'm just glad I did well," said Brown. "I wasn't prepared for any of the stuff that happened today; I just came out and played. I've been in track, so that helped me with the running part. I just haven't had time to be in the weight room, because of track."

    The only negative on Brown's combine sheet was his measurements. He checked in at 5-foot-6 ½ and 148 pounds.

    Another prospect on the smaller side that had a good day was Vince Jordan of Mount Gilead (N.C.) West Montgomery.

    After measuring in at 5-foot-9 and 197 pounds, Jordan ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash and a 4.06-second 20-yard shuttle. The running back then vertical jumped 35.8 inches and rep'd 185 pounds 24 times.

    Rounding out the elite members of the running back group was Travis Leggett.

    At 5-foot-11 ½ and 199.6 pounds, Leggett, a tailback from Cerro Gordo (N.C.) West Columbus, recorded a 4.54-second 40-yard dash, a 4.33-second 20-yard shuttle, a 32-inch vertical, and 23 repetitions of 185 pounds.

    "I surprised myself in some areas – bench press, my forty – I wasn't expecting to get a 4.5," said Leggett. "Overall, I think I did pretty good. I could have done better, but overall I did pretty good."

    Nick Becton also surprised himself with his combine performance, but realized he had some work to do on his technique during offensive line drills.

    "I feel like I did ok," said Becton. "I'm still trying to learn my position, but I did all right. I need to work on my stance and all that."

    Becton, a Wilmington (N.C.) New Hanover product, measured in at 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, and then ran a 5.15-second 40-yard dash and a 4.63-second 20-yard shuttle. He also vertically jumped 28.3 inches, but only pushed 185 pounds 16 times.

    C.J. Brown, Becton's linemate, was also on hand but wasn't as impressive in drills. After checking in at 6-foot-3 and 283 pounds, Brown clocked a 6.06-second 40-yard dash and a 5.29-second 20-yard shuttle, and vertically jumped 17.5 inches.

    Another solid combine performance out of the offensive line group came from Jonathan Cooper of Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard. At 6-foot-2 and 288 pounds, Cooper benched 185 pounds 27 times and ran a 5.24-second 40-yard dash. He also recorded a 5.01-second 20-yard shuttle and vertically jumped 24 inches.

    Cooper, who is arguably the top in-state offensive lineman prospect without a scholarship offer, said he is taking an unofficial visit to North Carolina in the coming weeks.

    A late notice and a nagging ankle injury caused the top prospect in attendance to have a somewhat disappointing showing.

    "Today was a mediocre day for me, because everything was on such short notice," said Terrell Manning. "I just now found out about [the combine] yesterday. I could have had more reps on bench; I could have ate healthier and weighed in more. My forty-time [wasn't great] obviously because of my ankle.

    "But I can't make any excuses. Next time I come out for a combine, I've got to make sure I do what I got to do."

    Manning twisted his ankle Friday, which forced him to skip the 20-yard shuttle and run an unimpressive 4.74-second 40-yard dash. However, the linebacker from Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County measured in at 6-foot-3 ¾ and 201 pounds and vertically jumped 33.7. He also benched 185 pounds 16 times.

    Recently, Manning added his tenth scholarship offer (Virginia Tech) and has established a top three favorites list, but isn't willing to make it public just yet. He did, however, respond to rumors that N.C. State might be his leader.

    "I like N.C. State – that's all I'm going to say," said Manning. "They are one of the three."

    The Shrine Bowl Combine tour will continue this coming Saturday at Butler High School outside of Charlotte in Matthews.

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